As in my newly exposed biceps that my cross training is giving me!!
Hard to believe Summer is finally here and it’s almost over. It’s been a fast paced Summer for me so far and I haven’t been able to blog about much. I wish my running pace was a quick as this Summer is that’s for sure! Can you believe I have actually seen fall decorations in some stores? Agh! It’s like I’m in a nightmare that never ends! Don’t get me wrong, I love all the wonderful seasons of the year, it’s just that I much prefer Summer and wish it lasted nearly half as long as Winter.
So far this year I’ve completed the Tidal Run 15k, and The Epic Canadian 6.1 and the Scleroderma 5k. I am very happy to say that I ran a (since ankle injury) PB on the Epic and the Scleroderma. The Tidal Run 15? Well… you’ll read about that disaster below.
I remember the days when I would just run to run; I would look at all the runners glued to their Garmins and think… man, they are really missing out. I used to run just for the feeling of being free, being alone with my thoughts and enjoying all the new scenery I’ve never seen before, seeking out new routes became almost as exciting as the run itself. I would love to get back to being that type of runner, for now, I’m also glued to my watch. I have to get back to the place I was before I had surgery and then again before my ankle injury that took over a year to heal. My current pace is averaging out at about 6:50 – 7:10. My goal pace is 6:20 or less.
I am a strong believer in if you want to be a better runner, you have to cross train. I am also training to pass the PARE (4 fails so far and counting… ugh) I have been doing strength and agility training on Mondays and Wednesdays and taking a “STRONG by Zumba” class on Fridays. If you read “STRONG by Zumba” and thought “dancing”, you are really missing out on something special! Replace “Zumba” with “Insanity” and you might be getting closer. This is a muscle building, stamina training, heart pumping INSANE workout that is choreographed down to the beat. Timberland has created music to match the choreography, not choreography to match the music, this is a workout created by the same folks who created Zumba, but it is NOT dancing! Imagine instead of counting burpees you are dropping burpees to the beat. Every beat has a move and every move has a beat. I love this workout. It really is an amazing workout for anyone that wants to cross train, get stronger, build stamina and a whole host of other benefits. For the first time in a long while, I can actually see the difference this workout is making. Do I sound like I’m trying to sell you on something? Well, maybe I am because I love this workout so much I decided to get certified! Yes, this Summer I became a STRONG by Zumba INSTRUCTOR! If you want to know more, you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook, we are called Double D (Doyle and Duke) Fitness and our classes begin in Woodside this fall. (there are also pop up fundraisers that happen now and then so if you want to try a class without the commitment, keep an eye on the Facebook page).
As my goal is to get back to the runner I was before surgery and before the ankle injury, my goal for now is to get faster. I’ve already detailed the cross training portion, I’ve also joined a running club. Well it’s more than a running club, it’s a training club for runners. It’s the 360 Fit Training for Maritime Race Weekend run. I love running with this group. Andrew Mitton is an excellent coach. He is very energetic, enthusiastic and is always available to answer questions and give you an additional training plan for whatever your specific goal is. I have also signed up for Maritime Race Weekend. I signed up for the tartan twosome. 5k on Friday and a ½ on Saturday. I’m really not feeling the ½ this year though so I will probably drop to the 10. Time will tell. I’m still doing the ½ training but I’m really not feeling it this year. I think a lot of that has to do with the continual PARE failures that are causing my confidence to plummet.
I did 2 new runs this year. The Tidal Trail Run and the Epic Canadian. The Tidal Trail Run was a fantastic run! It is definitely a keeper on my annual race calendar. I am not going to lie, all the races that Michelle Kempton puts on are fantastic! They are expensive, but they are worth every penny. She really pours herself into every single detail. I always sign up for these events as soon as they go live, because the early birds get ALL the perks! So far I’ve won a pretty amazing running vest from Solomon running, and a free month of boot camp from 360 fit and a super cool MRW limited edition BUFF that you can’t buy or get any other way but by winning it! Michelle always has tons of giveaways throughout the year heading up to MRW so you definitely want to get in early! Even though I didn’t win these prizes, they are totally worth mentioning; in conjunction with Spartan Fitness, Michelle gave away tons of exercise equipment, including an actual ROWER! Michelle also gave away a TRIP FOR 2 to the Toronto Marathon! Like seriously! If you plan on doing MRW, sign up early and get entered in to win these prizes!
The Tidal Trail 15k started off great. The scenery is to die for and but for the first 1/2k, it’s completely flat. Like pancake flat! Lets face it, Race Directors try to think of everything and plan in advance, but nobody except the good Lord Almighty can plan for weather. It was a cool and windy day, scratch that. It was a cool and hurricaney day! The wooded portion of the run was awesome, until you hit that wide open ocean trail. The scenery is amazing, it literally feels as though you are pulling a Jesus and running on water. Nothing but wide open ocean on the left and the right with a small causeway that connects Lawrencetown to Cow Bay it just so happens that the connector is about 3k in length. On a less windy day it is a beauty of a run, one of my personal favorites. On this day, it was hell. The wind was insane. I was grateful to get back in the wooded area again on the Lawrencetown side. Even with the dreadful wind blowing me sideways on the causeway I was still keeping pace to beat my last 15k time at the MEC in 2017. That is until my sister tried to FaceTime me. With my phone in my holder I answered the FaceTime call through my earphones. With the wind whipping me around it was impossible to hear her and it was impossible for her to hear me over the wind. All I could manage was screaming “I CAN’T TALK NOW!”. I hung up. 5 seconds later she calls again. I scream into the headphones “I CAN’T TALK NOW I’LL CALL YOU LATER” and I hung up. 5 seconds later she calls again she starts texting me. All I’m hearing is bing, bing, bing, bing, bing in my earphones. Frustrated I stop running. Completely. I dig my phone out of my holder and I read the text messages… “OMG WHAT’S HAPPENING?” … OMG PAULA I’M FREAKING OUT… Just as I was about to reply with “I’m running... call you back” she called again. I answered the phone and said “I’m RUNNING! I’m in a RACE I’ll call you back!”. That was it. I put my phone back in it’s holder and continued on with my run. Frustrated but able to continue on. I was hitting my stride and my phone started ringing again. I was done. I dug my phone out and said “HELLO???!!!”. Nothing. “HELLOOOOO?!!!!” nothing. I look at the phone and it’s my running buddy Jimmie. He had already finished the race no doubt and was calling to see where I was. I was furious. I screamed into the phone. “JUST LEAVE WITHOUT ME! I’m DONE!”.. turns out he butt dialed me by accident. So yah, that was my Tidal trail 15k. The sad part is I finished in the same time as my MEC 15k a year before, except in the MEC I never stopped and on the Tidal Trail I stopped and walked from the causeway until I was back in the woods again. Defeated, frustrated and spent. At least my running buddy was there to greet me as I crossed! Thankfully he was unaware of the rage I was yelling into the phone when he butt dialed me. I totally could have PB’d that one. I know I could have. I got back to the tailgate party and called my sister to tell her it will be a while before I can forgive her for harassing me during one of my best runs. She told me that when she called the first time, all she heard was me screaming and all she could see was woods and water. She thought I was being dragged somewhere and I was about to get murdered! HAHAHHAHA! Oh dear! Ok, she was immediately forgiven. I now run with my phone on Do Not Disturb.
The Epic 6.1 was a PB for me! I can’t tell you how good it feels to run a personal best. I see now why runners are glued to their watches while out on a run, forever seeking that race pace. The runners high I felt when I ran my very first 5k was felt again on that Epic 6.1 The route was fantastic. Just enough hill to keep things interesting and if you know me, you know I love hills, hey, if you go up, you have to go down and the down is the best! You can really recover on those downs and pick up some serious speed as well. My favorite part of the run was running over the newly uncovered canal on the brand new canal bridge. It was fabulous. My second favorite part of the run was the flag! There is nothing better in this world than knowing you are running your best race under a huge Canada Flag along a path lined with amazing and beautiful flags announcing the birth of our Nation. It’s incredible! Perfect Canada day weekend! Gone are the days when a perfect Canada Long Weekend would cause a serious hangover, they’ve been replaced with the lasting euphoria of crossing that finish line strong, proud and free!
If you’ve made it this far, you must really be looking for something to pass the time :). Thanks for reading! Stay happy, stay healthy and most of all stay fit! See you at our next STRONG by Zumba pop up class!
I have so much love for the Denise Camps-Saulnier, Kendra Sheppard, Jeffrey Goodine, Shannon Newton and the entire Lakeshore running club. This group of serious runners have been my support system since the inaugural race in 2014. This is not an easy course and for these members to not only come out year after year, but to also repeatedly tell me how much they love the event is more than any “little sister” could ask for. I always brace myself for lots of grumbling after the race is run because of the difficulty, amazingly, like our tag line suggests, people are still smiling long after the endorphins have worn off. After Saturdays run, Jeffrey turned to me and said “This is the only race I’ll do on these trails.” Haha! I’ll take it!
James and I deliberated numerous times over the years on how to draw more attention to our race. We tossed around changing the name, I wasn’t ok with changing it completely, so I just shortened it. Hillside 2 Haiti 5k is now the H2H 5k. Well, in some places anyway, mostly it’s still Hillside 2 Haiti. Considering the route, I think it’s fitting; although, despite what most racers this weekend thought, the namesake is not the route but the Church in which the run supports. We tossed around changing the route. Well, HE tossed around changing the route, I was completely against it. I am against changing the route because it is challenging. Are we missing a whole market of racers because of that dreaded word “hill”? Probably. Could we get more if we billed it as a fast flat route? Possibly. Will changing the route change the whole point of H2H? Absolutely! Look, the route is hilly. It’s challenging. It’s that way by design. This year we honored members of the “Soldier On” program. If you want to know what challenges are, check them out. The Heritage Trail portion of the Salt Marsh Trail is not at all challenging compared to what they have overcome. We also honored members who struggle with mental illness and addictions. Want to know what a real challenge is, live in their world for just one day. Of course, all the money we raise goes to Haiti. Literally. We don’t send them the money, we don’t buy supplies here and send them to them. We literally take the money to Haiti and use it to build, to purchase supplies, to hire Haitians. The money we take to Haiti stays in Haiti. I think that’s the most important aspect of H2H 5k that I want to make sure people understand completely. Giving them money will sustain them for the day, using the money to strengthen the economy will sustain them for life. The men, women and children of Haiti face challenges every single day of their lives, yet any team member will tell you, they are the most loving, caring, thankful and positive human beings in the entire world. H2H 5k honors them. It is for that reason I will not change the route. The H2H 5k route is exactly what I think of when I think of the men, women and children of Haiti. They don’t worry about the uphill battle they face every day, they embrace the down hill. They don’t look ahead at the up, they look past it at the down because they know that on the other side there is always a down. They never stop smiling, hoping, loving and living.
I want to thank every single one of our 318 racers that came out to H2H 5k 2018. You made a difference. Thank you
I want to thank our sponsors that support us every year! Without them we wouldn’t be able to send as much of the money to Haiti as we can with them backing us every year.
Xander Sign group – selflessly provided us with the step and repeat we used in the photo booth at the after party, they also provided us with the banner that we just LOVE! https://www.facebook.com/xandersigngroup/
Swish came on board our very first year in 2014. They provide us with the cups that we need for our water stations and our garbage bags to clean up with after the race. They never ever say no, they always say yes and for that we are eternally grateful! I am especially grateful for this year. I messed up. Big time. The lovely folks at Swish took it upon themselves to personally deliver our stock of cups for the water station this year. They delivered them directly to Hillside Wesleyan Church. The pastor put them in his office for safe keeping until race day. Well; I forgot all about it. I sent my right hand to go to Swish and pick up the cups. They told her that the cups were already picked up. She texted me to ask and I said, nope. Swish gave her ANOTHER BOX! Come race day, we had TWO boxes of cups for our water station! OOPS! We contacted Swish to apologize for the mix up and told them we’d bring the other box back. KEEP THEM! They said! Wait.. what? WOW! Thanks! So if you need anything at all, from serving dishes to cleaning supplies please, do me a solid. Get them from SWISH! www.swishclean.com
Petes also came on board to provide our racers with fuel replenishing bananas from our first event until now. They always provide us with that and never blink an eye! Our racers are very thankful for that! http://petes.ca
Ski Martock never fails to support with their donation of a ski rental and lift ticket for 2! Every year they provide that for us, our racers who attend our post-race after party always comment on how awesome our prizes are! Thanks Ski Martock! We love you! www.martock.com
360 Fit – so happy that Devin Sherrington from 360 fit not only brought his running group to H2H 5k for their Saturday training run, I’m very thankful for his in kind donation of a pretty awesome hoodie and a free month of unlimited membership to his club! Thank you so much! I can tell you that those prizes were adored and appreciated by the winners! www.360online.ca
Run Nova Scotia! If you have ever been the little brother or little sister in your family, then you will be able to relate. Being a brand new “little sister” I looked up to the “big sisters” of the racing world. I followed closely in their footsteps and tried to learn from them. When God first placed H2H 5k on my heart in 2013 I wouldn’t dream that by 2018 we would not only be a part of the Run Nova Scotia Road Race Series, but that one of my “Big Sister’s” would actually come to my event! It was amazing! I’m still glowing. I had a goal of 300 racers and we not only met that, by race day we surpassed it!
We can’t say enough about how incredibly pleased this “little sister” is to have been on the Road Race Series for 2018. It was a goal of ours from the inauguration and to say that we finally hit the big time is exactly how we feel. Thank you for supporting this little engine that could in 2018 and we hope to see you again soon! http://Runnovascotia.ca
Because of all the ‘in kind’ donations we received, we were able to raise a total of $5000.00 !!! That’s our best so far! Thank you to all who registered, ran, and collected donations! That $5000.00 is going to go a long way to strengthening the economy in Haiti! Thank YOU!
Looking forward to 2019, I can’t say that there will be much change in anything other than the swag and medals, but we like it that way. We will be announcing the medal design for 2019 on our FB page so make sure you like us or join the H2H 5k running group and we will also be talking about the swag for 2019. We are excited and looking ahead and we hope you are too!
P.A.R.E otherwise referred to as S.U.C.K.
If you have never heard of the P.A.R.E, it’s the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation that you must pass in order to be recruited as either an R.C.M.P officer or a C.B.S.A. officer (Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Canadian Border Services Agency) Personally I am going to refer to the PARE as the SUCK from this point onward. S.U.C.K; seriously unconventional contortions kids.
I am writing about the S.U.C.K. because I have decided to take a complete left turn in my career goals. I am currently in the process of applying to become a Canadian Border Services Agency Officer. In order to be accepted to the training college in Rigaud Quebec you must first pass the S.U.C.K.
If you have already ran the S.U.C.K and have passed then you will refer to this blog as unnecessary because well, you’re a super hero and you passed it with flying colors in a mere 2.2 minutes and negative seconds. I, however, a mere mortal, am having the utmost difficulty wrapping my head around this unbeatable unsurmountable unkind and unconventional obstacle course. Could be my age, or my mind, or a combination of both, who knows? All I know is that this course is beating me and I haven’t even toe’d the starting line.
What does the S.U.C.K. consist of?
20 foot run to obstacle #1 – The cone! Haha! Ok, so that’s not terrifying, however, after you round the cone, there is another 20 foot run, somewhere in the middle there is a 5 foot mat (yoga mat) and you have to jump it mid 20 foot run. Don’t let your feet land on the mat because if you do, that’s a 5 second penalty! CONE! Round the cone and you have a staircase. You have to run up one side and down the other and back up and down again; another 20 foot run and CONE! Round that one and it’s 2 hurdles snuck in between the next 20 foot run. Jump those hurdles and it’s CONE! Round the cone and you have to vault a 3 foot wall, then do a controlled fall (think BURPEE) either on your front or back and run to the finish… you have to do the circuit 6 times! Yep, 6! No, that’s not a typo, it really is 6 (SIX) times following that, you have to go to a “push/pull station”. I have yet to meet this contraption, but as far as I can tell, you have to push and pull a weight around a 180 degree half circle touching one side of a wall and the other with the outside of your foot … it’s supposed to simulate struggling with a person whom is under arrest… you have to do complete this circuit in LESS THAN 4 minutes and 45 seconds! Following that, if you haven’t died, or thrown up or called your mother, you then have to carry an 80 pound sand bag an undetermined amount of feet. That’s it. Done. Easy peasy right?
I consider myself to be a fairly fit 40 something, I mean, I typically hit the gym for some boot camp on Monday’s and Thursdays, Wed is YOGA, Tues and Fri I typically go for a short run and do a long run on the weekend. Passing the S.U.C.K. should be easy right? Everyone that knows me says “What are you so worried about? You are going to KILL this!” Granted, they haven’t seen me jump, sprint, lift or BURPEE; burp? Yes! BURPEE? Hard no.
When you initially apply for the CBSA, on the website, it asks you if you have passed the PARE, I selected no, it then tells you that it’s in your best interest to attempt and pass as soon as possible. It then goes on to say that the process is typically a 2 year process. As long as you pass your Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms courses before you apply, the PARE can be done as soon as possible. ALL righty then. Fast forward to beginning of year 2. I still have not completed my PARE and it’s getting close. What I mean is I have passed every other aspect of this process, it’s just the S.U.C.K. that I have left to do.
I looked online at the acceptable testing facilities near me and the closest one is in Moncton. MONCTON? Really? Ugh, that sucks! I was feeling confident so I emailed the coordinator to inquire about an appointment date. Turns out he is only testing until the 11th of December then he won’t be back until the 8th of Jan. The cost to take the test is $60.00 Ugh. Not only was I thinking I’d better be able to pass the first time due to the drive, I also best be able to pass for the cost of taking the darn thing. Double ugh. I initially opted for the 11thof December, but considering it’s so close and I still can’t jump, lift, sprint or BURPEE, I chickened out and changed it for the 8th of Jan. The jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll make that date. Such began the search to pass the SUCK.
I googled and googled and googled so much that my eyes turned into those little plastic eyes you paste on teddy bears. I quickly found out just how fit a person needs to be in order to be successful at the SUCK. ( I probably should have spent as much time squatting, sprinting, lifting and burping ah burpeeing that I did googling). Apparently it’s pretty fit. I downloaded exercises and the map of the PARE and my dear hubby actually set up a course (complete with 3 foot wall) in our backyard. I attempted the course and quickly realized that I can’t jump a 5 foot mat. Like literally. CAN NOT DO IT. I spoke with the SUCK coordinator in Moncton and he advised me that I need to work on interval training because the SUCK is very different than the marathon type long and slow running I’m used to. I spoke with a trainer at 360 fit who told me that the 5 foot mat jump sounded like an impossible feat, he really seemed shocked that it was something they would put on a test. Seeing his shock and horror really took the breeze out of my already quite deflated sails. (after I left with my head hanging low and my stride slow and defeated I decided he must have thought I was jumping UP 5 feet (like on a box) not ACROSS 5 feet)
I’m not a quitter. Back to the computer I went to try and figure out exactly what I needed to do in order to get proficient at this PARE. Surely there are exercises I can do to get me more comfortable jumping. Surely there are trainers out there that know what the SUCK is and know how to condition people to jumping. To my pleasant surprise, THERE IS! In BC. Ugh! (Redline Condirioning sounds like an awesome place to check out if you are in the area)
I have upped my interval training, if you have never heard of Jacob’s Ladder, I suggest you try and find a gym that has one, this thing is AMAZING! I can only do about 1-2 minutes at a time before I want to vomit and have to stop. I have done it twice now and I already feel my anaerobic conditioning improving. I’ve upped my lifting, well, I’ve upped it from nothing. I’ve been practicing my mat jumping and still can’t do it, but I’m still not giving up. I still have a little more than 4 weeks before I take my test and I plan on working my butt off until I get it. If I still can’t do the jump by then I will just put it off again until I can.
If you are looking for some training to either help YOU pass a PARE or just to up your anaerobic conditioning or tone up your muscles, the folks atwww.leofitness.ca have some amazing workouts and instructional videos available for free to help you out. They even have provided a 16 week Training Program that will take you from zero conditioning to hero conditioning where you can not only pass your PARE but probably set a PARE PR! Ha! This program is available for a fee, much cheaper than hiring a personal trainer. They are always available via email as well to help answer any questions you may have. They have been very helpful to me and I wanted to share their page with you. Even if you’re not training for the SUCK, you might find some useful tips and tricks to take you to the next level in your training.
As for me and my CBSA goals, well, I guess I’ll keep you posted.
If you follow my blog, you will recall a post I made a few months ago regarding Forks over Knives and a diet based on plant nutrition. The post spoke of co-race director James Penny and the amazing changes I witnessed in him in just one year. Not only did he lose an incredible amount of weight, but he could blast past me on our daily runs like it was nothing. When he would blast past me barely breaking a sweat he would scream "POWERED BY PLANTS!" we would joke back and forth about his love for plants and my love for pigs. (eating them). After about a month of this banter back and forth I decided to get real. I mean, he was really doing amazingly well and I was still struggling to put out a 5k without stopping under a 7min/km pace. It truly was humbling. I got serious and started asking him numerous questions about this plant based diet. He turned me on to Forks over Knives. I was all in. I lost 20 lbs in my first month and although I'm still stagnant at a pound or 2 up and down, I feel amazing and I have totally embraced the plant based lifestyle. With thanks for the Forks over Knives meal planning App I have tried so many tasty recipes and I am going to share another of my favourites with you.
Combine your cooked lentils to your can of Navy Beans. Using a fork, mash lentils and cannellini beans in a bowl until nearly smooth.
Add oats, scallions, jalapeño (if using)
add cilantro, (seriously, what is with all the cilantro hate anyway?) lime juice, and garlic. Mix well, (come on, get in there with your bare hands! It is so satisfying!) then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Form burger mixture into 4 patties about 1 inch thick and 3 ½ inches in diameter. Bake on prepared baking sheets until lightly browned and heated through, about 20 minutes.
Spiced Cucumber Salad
Whisk together peanut butter, maple syrup, cilantro (if using), lime juice, garlic, pepper flakes (if using), and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl.
Assemble and SERVE!
Serve burgers on whole-grain buns topped with romaine lettuce and scallions; drizzle with sauce. Serve with spiced cucumber salad.
INGREDIENTSFOR THE BURGERS
What qualifies you as a runner? I mean a “real” runner? Getting up at 0-dark-30 to travel for a 7:45start comes pretty close I think.
Co-Race Director James Penny and I often joke about being a ‘real’ runner. On our long runs especially, when we pass runners with the water packs, gel packs and compression gear, we know just by looking at them that they are of the ‘elite class’ they are ‘real’ runners. “What are we then?” I’d ask him. Oh, we just “pretend to run”. Yah! Tell that to my soaked clothing from head to toe , my burning lungs, my heavy legs and my aching back that I’m just pretending!
Jimmie is one of the best running buddies I’ve ever had. He never complains, he always goes my pace no matter what pace that is and he has agreed to sign on as co-director for the H2H 5k. What more could I ask for in a running buddy? (besides asking him to just be quiet… he talks WAY TOO MUCH!) So, when Jimmie asked me if I would go to the Valley Harvest Marathon with him, I couldn’t say no. It was immediately following our ½ marathon at Maritime Race Weekend. I knew he wanted to see just how fast he could do it and I knew he wasn’t expecting me to do another ½ he just wanted someone to go with him. Of course! He signed up to do his 2nd ½ in 3 weeks and I signed up for the 10k. At 0-dark-30 James Penny was sitting in my driveway ready and anxious to get on the road to Wolfville. Him, up since 4am, me just pulling on my socks 10 minutes after the alarm went off at 6:15 am.
Since this one was more Jimmies race to run than mine, I asked him to Blog about it. I asked him to contribute his review, sadly, he’s more of a talker than a writer so it’s on me. I will do my best to describe the event but as I have no idea what the ½ route entails, I will write about the 10k.
First off, rolling up to Acadia University was pretty easy. We were expecting lots of traffic and difficulty parking. This was not the case at all. I’m going to say it was probably around 7 am that we arrived and Ben Brown (wheelchair athlete) had already departed for his 10k race. The parking lot adjacent to the track was still pretty empty and the traffic was light.
Upon entering the track, we could already hear the excitement of those racers warming up for the first event start (the ½ marathon) and the MC could be heard announcing the day’s events. Music was playing and immediately I got a sense of thrill and excitement for the day ahead. A long car ride, a large coffee and nervous jitters dictated my first move of the day. The washroom. Initially I eyed the 3 port a potties on the far edge of the field and thought oh dear… if that’s all we have, I’d better stake a permanent spot near the door. I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that the stadium was open. No worries on the washroom front, plenty of facilities for all!
It was awesome to be present when Wheelchair Athlete Ben Brown came in after completing the 10k in 28:35. Having run the 10k, I can tell you that was no easy feat! He looked simply bagged when he crossed that finish line and I can bet he was! (more on the 10k route to follow) Amazing job and an amazing time! There is simply no ‘can’t’ and no ‘quit’ in this young man and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to witness his finish! I am also grateful to the organizers of the Valley Harvest Marathon 2017 for giving him the avenue to compete!
Immediately upon Ben’s finish, the ½ marathoners began to line up. Their start time was 0745. H2H 5k Race Director James Penny was eyeing up the Pace Bunnies trying to decide which one he would fall in with. I told him to stick with the 2:20.00 bunny, told him to stay slow on start up and if he felt good and was hitting his stride then he could go faster, I thought he took my advice, but he didn’t. More on that later! I believe he settled in behind the 2:10.00 bunny.
Immediately following the half marathoners, the 10k`s were up. That`s where I took to the mat. I myself eyed up the Pace Bunnies and decided I would put myself somewhere in between the 1:05and the 1:10. Funny enough, that`s where I finished!
The horn blasted and we were off. It was a cool start to the morning and I felt like with the overcast skies it was shaping up to be a beauty of a day and I could almost smell my PB (that`s personal best, not peanut butter) We left the track, and on to the main road in Wolfville. It didn`t take long before I realized that this is not your everyday flat course and it didn`t take long before the clouds broke and the heat and humidity slammed me right in the face. It`s October, the leaves are a beautiful shade of red and orange, what is this humidity! Luckily, as I was beginning to suck wind and saying a wistful goodbye to my dream of a PB I was greeted by the 5k turnaround point and a beautiful water stop. Good point 1; about the water stop; they separated the water carriers from the Gatorade carriers by shirt color. I think the blue shirts had water and the orange shirts had Gatorade. What a novel idea! I love that! If you are a race director and you are reading this and you are a director of marathon distances, this is an awesome idea! Take note! Good point 2; because I was dying, I decided to opt in for the Gatorade, I felt a bit guilty because I`m not running a marathon, it`s ``only`` a 10k, however, the sugar rush was just what I needed. Sugar rush indeed! It was perfect! I mean, some ``real`` runners might not like the mouthful of sugar and prefer the watered down version that I am used to, but this was a full mouthful of sugary goodness that went straight from my mouth to my legs! Perfect! Bad point; this water stop was also the 5k turn around. Not a great place for it. There was too much congestion from people getting their fuel and people turning right. I can`t count how many 5k`ers missed the turn right but I know there had to have been at least a few. Unless you were running on the right hand side of the road and unless you stopped for refreshment, I can`t see how you would have noticed the mark.
The great thing about this race is not the course itself, but the route. Stunning. The timing is perfect, the leaves on the trees are in that stage where they have changed color but have not yet fallen. This is key because there is nothing worse than running on wet fallen leaves. I can`t imagine more perfect timing to be honest. A right turn brings you from the main road down along farms. There is nothing better than a herd of cattle cheering you on as you race past. It really is something special! That was my whole take away, the jaw dropping autumn glow of the trees and pastures and the cattle mooing. Honestly my favorite run to date. 100%.
I found myself keeping time with the 1:05 Pace Bunny for the most part, but I did have to stop twice at the water stops and he managed to squeeze past me. I knew I wasn`t going to beat my first ever 10k time of 1:03, but there was still a good chance I`d beat my last 10k of 1:11.53 (Navy 10K) and I did. The victory half lap around the field brought me across the mat at 1:06.01! I`m calling that a PB! I don’t know if it was the amazing Autumn scenery, the Pace Bunny, the Gatorade or the inner competitor but I crossed that finish line looking like a hot mess and feeling like a million bucks! (my only prayer is that there is no photographic proof of the hot mess, though I`m 100% sure there is!) I did a quick washroom break, grabbed my camera and took to the main road so I could get a photo of Jim as he came in after his half. I figured I had a good half hour or so before seeing him so I decided to take a few shots of the other racers. The link to those photos is here. I settled into the pole and had my camera dangling by my side when all of a sudden out of the shadows came Jimmie! I was so startled and excited to see him that I brought my camera up to take a pic, the strap was wrapped around my knee and the force of bringing it up to my face caused it to snag and go crashing to the ground. Thankfully I managed to pick it up and snap the pics before he passed me. If you were a witness to the jumping and screaming fool running with a camera, that was me. If you were the person whom I smashed into with my lens hood, that was also me. I apologize profusely! I was expecting Jimmie to come in at around 2:10 or 2:15but certainly not 2:00! I was gobsmacked! I was screaming 2 hours 2 hours! It was actually 2:07.38 when he crossed the mat but I still was amazed. Considering he just finished his first half at Maritime Race Weekend just 3 short weeks prior, it was incredible to see him do so well at the Valley Harvest. Well done to you James Penney!
All in all, the Valley Harvest Marathon is a fantastic event. Getting in and getting out was very easy, the traffic was light and the availability of parking was plentiful. The organization was pristine, the facilities accommodating and the setting stunning. It`s not hard to tell why this event is 25 years old and going strong.
As for my co-race director and running buddy James Penney, I don`t care what he brings or doesn`t bring with him on a long run day, he is a real runner in my books! Welcome to the `elite` Jim! You`ve earned it!
The world is not flat.
The trail system in Musquodoboit is.
My first impression upon arriving at the 4th race in the MEC 2017 series is the amount of run club participants. It was great to see so many people coming together and running as a club. One of the many benefits of taking up running is the like minded individuals you can meet. Joining a run club is not like joining a gym. There is no competition, there is no sweaty equipment and no ‘gym rules’, you just show up and are immediately welcomed in with open arms. Joining a run club is intimidating but in reality there is always someone there who goes your pace and there is no other fitness club that is as friendly and welcoming as a running club.
The MEC series #4 race was very well organized. Plenty of parking available across the street from the entrance. Plenty of refreshments and washroom facilities. One trick I have learned is to get in the washroom lineup long before you have to go, by the time you get to the front of the line, you will need it.
The race began with a staggered start. The 15k’ers went first followed by what I’m going to assume is the 10k’ers then the 5’s. I can only assume because I was part of the 15k group. They had 3 water stations set up, each at each of the turn around points; 2.5k, 5k and 7.5k. This was very helpful not only for notating when you were supposed to turn around, but also having this many water stops along the route made it much easier to make it the full 15k. The weather was perfect, but it was a tad muggy so having access to 5 water stations was very much appreciated.
I love trail running for the scenery aspect alone. Not much to see on this trail though, once you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all. I also like runs that are a bit more challenging. I like the odd hill thrown in the mix. What goes up must come down. I like it when I can engage those glutes. This route is flat. Flatter than flat. I have never ran a route so flat. I think I actually zoned out and took a nap just before the turn around point. I could have easily PR’d on this one had I not just completed the MRW ½ the weekend before. Unfortunately for me I petered out at kilometer 10. I still finished with an average pace of 7.28/k, but prior to that I was sticking steady at a 6.5/k pace. That was the fastest I have run a 10 in years. Might seem like very super slow to most, but for me, it’s nuclear!
I missed race #1 due to illness, but I still say that the 2nd race in the series, the Citadel, is my favorite to date. I liked the Salt Marsh Trail one, it was challenging at points and the scenery was stunning but it was way too hot and they ran out of water or they cleaned it up before I got there, either way, it was a crappy day for a 10k. This one was nice, it’s a great PR race for someone who is concentrated on those things. The staggered start was perfect and the trail was super wide giving more than enough room for the back of the packers like myself and the head of the pack 5 and 10k racers coming up behind. The refreshments were plentiful and the atmosphere was jovial.
I’m anxiously awaiting what the final MEC series #5 will bring.
Pirates, Beer, a wedding, new records and a new trail run is what made this years Maritime Race Weekend the most epic yet!
After I failed miserably last year at the Sole Sisters ½ marathon, I vowed I would NEVER, EVER, NEVER sign up for another ½ marathon. The training alone was much more difficult than I ever expected. Hours upon hours of grueling run after grueling run. Logging hundreds of miles yet seeming like I’m getting nowhere. Then the big day came and at mile 8 I hit the wall with such ferocity that I thought I would never make it. I walked the remaining 5 miles. I finished that race 3rd from last and vowed at that time I would never do something so obviously unachievable again. It was in November of last year that I signed up to do the Maritime Race Weekend ½. Yep. Never, Ever, Never actually means, probably not tomorrow.
I think I began training for this ½ in January. H2H 5k Co-Race Director and running buddy James Penny and I started taking things really seriously in June. Right after the Hillside 2 Haiti 5k finished, our training for MRW ½ ramped up. It was also around that time that I went jogging with my favorite running buddy (my dog Joe). We were about a K into the run when he decided to stop suddenly, run in front of me and throw me butt over tea-kettle (if you know what I mean). Who knew I could do a triple salchow? I can! I can’t land it, but I can certainly do it! I got up, dusted myself off and continued on with my run. I injured myself that day. I didn’t realize it, but I’m pretty sure that was the day my ankle decided it was done with the whole running thing. I took a few weeks off, tried to recuperate, nothing was working. A quick visit to the walk in and the Doc told me that my running days were pretty much over. He confirmed that I had fractured my ankle and needed an x-ray. He told me not to run. My redemption ½ goals, crushed. Luckily for me, the x-ray indicated no fractures. I still have no idea what is wrong with my ankle, but it gets better every day and I almost have full range of motion back. Long story short, I got a brace and continued on training. My training partner and I finished this ½ in 2:39. Probably not the best time, but considering my ankle gave out at the 18 k mark, I’m definitely putting this in the WINNERS category. I was literally crying, limping, sweating and possibly swearing but I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop until I crossed that line and knowing that I did it, no matter what the clock said is a feat I’m pretty darn proud of.
On to my review;
Michelle Kempton does an incredible job with this race every year. As a race director for the H2H 5k I can truly appreciate all the work that goes into planning events. I can’t even for one second wrap my head around how she manages to do such an amazing job on the MRW. 2 days, 5 races, swag for days and medals that are so creative and fun who wouldn’t want to have them all? I barely keep it together for 1 race, never mind 5!
Lets talk about the routes;
The sunset 5k is completely flat and incredibly scenic. Racers go along shore road which just as the name suggests is a road along the shore. The scenery is beautiful. I didn’t sign up for this race so I can’t really give it a review, but I have run this route numerous times as the sun was going down so I can attest to the fact that it is definitely one you want to do if you’re looking for a 5k.
The 10k. Again, although this is not the race I did, I have run this route as well a number of times. It begins at Fisherman’s Cove. The nice thing about this one is that you start with all the racers! The ½ and the Marathoners. It’s amazing to see everyone lined up and ready to roll! Seeing so many people out to the event is a real energy boost! Much like the 5k, you begin your route along the Shore Road, up Caldwell, turn around behind the senior center (this is a great route addition because the residents come out and really enjoy watching the runners stop for water and cheer them on) then back to Shore road, up to the Golf course and back to FC. Along the route there were plenty of water stops, a number of residents cheering on the runners and plenty of entertainment provided by live musicians! I was told there was even a sprinkler set up on a home owners lawn that was a welcome treat as it was spraying over some of the racers as they went by. It was pretty hot on Saturday!
The ½ marathon. Wow! What can I say? This is my 2nd ½ marathon and I’m already thinking about signing up for the Tartan Trio next year. (The Tartan Trio is the Sunset 5k, the Sunrise 10 Saturday morning and the 15k trail run Saturday evening… 30k 2 days!) LOVE LOVE LOVE! I’m not going to sugar coat it though. This is not an easy route. It starts at fisherman’s cove where everyone starts, travels down shore road, up Caldwell (UP UP UP)… then UP UP UP again to Dyke Road and UP UP UP again to what the locals call “The Moose Loop”. Then it’s a series of 4 ups and 4 downs. This is a very hilly route. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. However, with that said, if there are that many ups, then there are just as many downs. The scenery alone is enough to take your mind off the fact that you are running uphill. When you finally catch your breath that was taken by the scenery you are already on your way down. To be honest, the hardest part of this route for me was the long steady incline that greets you between Buffalo Club to the Cow Bay Road/Dyke Road fork. Once you finish that then you’re golden. On the way back it was the slow steady incline from the Buffalo Club to Caldwell, but from there it is literally all down hill.
Along the route, besides the beautiful scenery, there were plenty of water stops! I think there were probably 5 or more. Each and every water stop had amazing volunteers and they were so well trained! I never spilled a single drop of water or Gatorade on myself! Speaking of which, there was PLENTY to go around as well! As a back of the pack runner, I often find myself getting the remnants of what was a massive supply. My last ½ was completely void of the sugary pick me up by the time I got there, not this ½, this ½ had enough for me AND a small village!
At the top of the 2nd hill around the Moose Loop there was a skittles station! Like are you kidding me? That was AWESOME! I do love me some Skittles and let me tell you, a mouth full of pure sugar really powered me through the next 2 hills. Following the Cow Bay Moose, there was a sponge station. I was so happy to see that! Ice cold sponges! Wonderful idea! On a day like Saturday where even my fingerprints were melting, being able to press an ice cold sponge to my head was like winning the lottery. It felt amazing and refreshing and really gave me the second wind I was so desperately seeking after the Moose Loop. As with all the stations, there was plenty to go around, even for the back of the packers like myself. It’s this attention to detail that really makes me want to keep coming back, over and over!
The Full Marathon;
Although I’d like to say that this is a race I will complete someday, I’m pretty sure that is just one long pipe dream. The route is beautiful again, It is pretty much the ½ marathon route with the added joy of going through the Shearwater Flyer Trail and adding Bissett Road to the mix. I’m all about trail running but sadly I just don’t see me ever doing this one. I’ll leave that review to the real pro’s J
The Tidal Trail 15k;
I am so stoked to sign up for the Tartan Trio next year. This race is billed as pancake flat and I can attest to the fact that the “Salt Marsh Trail” portion of the tidal trail is “pancake flat”, the Heritage trail portion is anything but. I would say prepare yourself for that fact if this is something you are going to go for. I know this because ½ of the Hillside 2 Haiti 5k takes part on this very portion of the Heritage trail. There is one saving grace though, the Tidal Trail 15k does start and finish a bit further up the trail so you are cutting out 2 large long hilly portions (for Hillside 2 Haiti 5k runners you know what I’m referring to), but there are still quite a few hilly spots that you want to make sure you are prepared for so you don’t start out too fast and end up hitting the wall on the way back. As for the view, well, I can tell you that this view is the absolute best of all the races at Maritime Race Weekend. You are basically running over the water. I can’t explain it, it’s something you want to see for yourself!
Well, that’s it. If you haven’t tried a race at MRW, you have to. Pick one, pick 2 (sunset 5k, sunrise 10k), pick 3 (The Tartan Trio) or do all 5! (crazy fool!) The distance is up to you, the experience and swag are like none I’ve ever seen! As my initial sentence read, every racer was able to enjoy a free post race beer! Ok, I’m not a big beer drinker but that one did certainly taste great! It was chilling in a canoe full of ice! There was a wedding at the finish line of the Tidal Trail 15k. (pics and story can be found online) and all the previous MRW records were smashed! (story online).
See you next year!
The smile of a "runners high" and a Personal Record bell ring to boot!
really not sure why this is saying playback on other websites is disabled... if anyone knows how I can fix this, let me know... tech savvy I am NOT. it's just a short clip of some of the obstacles.
Despite the frigid temperatures for the beginning of September, it didn't take long for us to warm up to all the fun that Foam Fest 2017 had to offer.
If I were to compare Foam Fest to Mud Hero, I have to give the win to Mud Hero. I had a ton of fun at Foam Fest and it was the first time I was able to run a race with my daughter so that made it even that much more special.
We chose the 2nd heat of the day to run in. I was quite shocked by the very small crowd that formed at the starting line for our heat. I really expected a lot more people. I do hope that more people become involved in events like these. They are family friendly, fun and really get you excited about being fit and truth be told, you don't even have to be fit to try one of these events.
The course itself was not fit for running in my opinion. I think that if Foam Fest is going to stake it's claim on Nova Scotia they are really going to have to try and find a different option than the Windsor Exhibition. The trail (if you can call it a trail) was full of divots and not at all suitable for someone who wants to give'er. The possibility of rolling an ankle and putting an abrupt end to your racing calendar was imminent. The exit from the exhibition to the train tracks was about the only place someone could run as it was a dirt road, other than that, navigating across very bumpy terrain and broken rotted train tracks was a serious accident just waiting to happen. There were 3 water stations along the route, which is nice to see for a 5k, however, the fact that the course wasn't at all fit for running and the temps were not at all warm, I didn't really need to hydrate.
The obstacles were completely do-able. There were a couple that I had to take a pause because they sure looked intimidating, but once I got over the initial anxiety completion was much easier than I anticipated. The only obstacle I chose not to do was the giant waterslide. I was almost going up when someone was coming down, the scream that escaped the lungs from that woman was enough to raise the dead and enough to solidify my decision to walk around. Mad props to my 56 year old hubby though, he took that slide like a champ! (although he did spread his arms and legs in an effort to somehow slow himself down... I'm shocked he didn't rip off a limb to be honest)
The Foam Fest is definitely more of a FUN family race to do, it's not a test your fitness kind of event. It wasn't timed, and the obstacles were very family friendly. If you are looking for an event to enjoy some family fitness and have a great mud slinging and foam slipping bonding session then this event is for you. If you are looking to brag about your fitness abilities, and give yourself a slap on the back for killing a true mud dripping, shoe sticking, gruelling sweat dripping timed event, then stick with Mud Hero, this race is just for fun.
I mentioned in an earlier blog about my desire to try a plant based diet because of the success I have witnessed in my running buddy and co-race director James Penney. I am happy to say that after a little more than a month I have shed 22 pounds so far! This is the easiest thing to stick to for me. I feel great and without any perceived effort I have lost quite a bit of weight and in turn was able to shed more time off my PR's.
I'm going to pop in now and then to share some of my favourite Plant Based recipes that I've adapted from the Forks over Knives cookbook. Below is a video recipe for Currie Potato Wraps. Delicious and oh so filling! Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss out on any of my favourites! (please forgive my obvious amateur videography... haha! Well, I tried! LOL
Curried Potato Wraps
2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Yellow Onion Diced
1 Tomato Diced
1 Clove Garlic minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
4 ox frozen green peas
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
Steam potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Remove from that and transfer to a bowl to let cool, then peel and dice.
Dice onion and tomato. Mince garlic and ginger. Juice lime. Chop cilantro.
Saute onions, garlic and 1/4 cup of water in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown. Add tomatoes, peas, ginger and another 1/4 cup of water, and cook until peas are heated through.
Add potatoes, lime juice, curry powder, salt, and cumin. Add another 1/2 cup of water to mixture, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a few minutes more, or just until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from that and stir in cilantro, if desired.
Heat tortillas in a skillet over medium heat until pliable, about 20 seconds on each side.
Place some filling in centre of each tortilla. Fold sides of tortilla over filling, the roll up to enclose.
Humidity, Joy, Tears and fat shaming.
I’ll admit that the Navy 10k is not my favorite race to participate in, but being an ex-sailor and a current DND employee, I do sign up and run this race every year, not because of the route, or the after party or the swag, but simply because of my connection to it and the support that I will forever give it. This year, the Navy 10k welcomed over 800 racers! Though that sounds like a big number; and by H2H 5k standards, it’s staggering, and even though it’s almost 200 more than last year, I remember the Navy 10k could draw close to a thousand runners, if not more. The connection to the Epic Canadian is what I believe prompted the additional registrations. I mean who doesn’t like ‘special Canada 150 swag’?
The route is a good route in my opinion. It’s billed as a flat course, but that’s not entirely true. In recent years, the route went up Gottingen to Novalea which was a bit of an uphill climb. Nothing major, just a very slight incline but a long one. They have since changed the route to go in a clockwise direction but that didn’t lessen the uphill climb or shorten it, it just changed the street. I’m not sure which direction is better, if there is a better one. Not that either direction are terribly awful, I quite enjoy the route. The only reason the Navy 10k is not my favorite race is because the 10k is 2 loops. I very much prefer either an out and back route or a single loop. The double loop is too much of a mind jumble for me. After the first time around you know exactly where you are and exactly how much further you have to go and exactly how many more ups there are. The great thing about either direction is both end on the down so you can seriously give yourself an extra push to the finish. The thing I liked best about the counter clockwise direction is that the distance to the finish once it was in view was a whole heck of a lot shorter so you could really turn on those after burners once you saw the finish line.
The swag was on point! I really love the drinking glass that came with the swag this year! It commemorated both my epic finish at the Epic Canadian but also my epic Navy 10k finish! The shirts are very well designed and the medals were the best yet! Race Director Kevin Miller really stepped it up this year and I have to say I was very impressed!
Halifax Regional Police stopped traffic along the route so it was really nice to have the entire street to ourselves. Having this protection is a welcome but very expensive perk so another shout out to Kevin Miller for setting this up every year.
There were 2 water stops along the route. Considering the route is only 5k, you can double that to 4 water stops if you are doing the 10. This was key. According to regulations, only 1 water stop is required per 5k so doubling up on that was awesome because you could literally cut the humidity with a knife it was that thick!
Along the route there were plenty of volunteers happily cheering us on and the occasional resident would stand in their doorway to give us encouraging words. Running a race in a residential neighborhood is nice because you get the families standing in front of their houses and the kids will give high 5’s. It’s awesome to get a high 5 from a kid. The energy literally transfers from them to you and you can feel your legs get lighter. I have never met anyone who would not cheer on racers running in a race, even if they had to stop their car and wait for hundreds of racers to run by, I have never met someone who would out right be unnecessarily cruel to anyone who is doing all they can to better themselves and in some cases their community. That is until this past Sunday.
If you know me, you know I’m not an elite runner. It takes everything in me to take that first step. It takes even more to continue on with each step until my goal is reached. The war inside my head rages on and on. The voice that tells me I’m too fat to be a runner. The voice that tells me I’m doing serious damage to my joints because this much weight should never attempt to run. The voice that tells me I’ll never PR because not only am I fatter this year than last year I’m also a year older. That voice that just won’t quit until my foot lands on the finish line and I am filled with joy and jubilation at the fact that yes, this fat old body CAN do it, this old fat body WILL do it and whether I PR or not I got my fat butt out the door and I DID IT! My own inner voice is so loud that the fact that some man in a cowboy hat sitting in the comfort of his van yelling out that “this must be a run for fat people” and “looks like you could use the run” didn’t register until I read about it on Facebook. What can I say about how that made me feel. Nothing really. Feeling something would mean that this person had an affect on me and clearly he didn’t because I didn’t even register that he was there. The only thing I feel about this man is deep sadness. I feel like he is fighting his own demons and I pray that someday he will fight his demons off the same way I do, by lacing up and going for a run.
All in all, the Navy 10k is a fabulous event. It supports those that supported our Nation in times of uncertainty and they have races for everyone. Youth races at 1.5 and 2k , the 5k and the 10k. The swag is always a nice option and the fact that the road is closed for racers makes it even better. The route is fun because people don’t have to walk far to cheer you on and even though it’s not pancake flat, it’s flat enough that you can easily PR. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Navy 10k yet, I suggest you add it to your calendar for next year. As always, I will see you there!
I began my running journey in March of 2009. I began my journey of faith in September of 2012. Running releases stress from my body while my new found faith releases stress from my mind.